Digging into a fork-tender pork shoulder or rack of baby backs that has spent eight hours being bathed in hickory is one of summer’s great pleasures. But who has the time (or patience) to spend a full day tending to a needy backyard smoker? That’s where Trager’s new line of smart smokers comes into play. The wood-fed wunderkinds are not only brainy enough to work their own fires but also sync with your phone, allowing you to monitor and change the entire process from afar.
Trager’s smart grills come in two flavors: the Timberline 850 and 1300. Each rock double-wall, pill-shaped barrels that accommodate three-tier stainless grates have different capacities (the 1300 holds 60 burgers). They each, however, let a time-strapped pitmaster fill the giant hopper with wood pellets, turn on the grill, and walk away. An auger moves the wood to the firebox, a hot rod lights it, and a draft induction fan circulates smoke throughout the grill. Then, using the cleverly named “WiFIRE” tech, cooks can sync their phones to change temperature (from 165 to 500° degrees Fahrenheit, within +/- 5 degrees), increase the smoke, set timers, and repeat cook cycles. It also works as a standard grill that you can also control.
Yes, it’s basically barbecue blasphemy to leave the art of smoking up to the grill itself. But the grills are a pretty good way to get homecooked, low-and-slow barbecue when you can’t (or don’t want to) waste a Saturday stoking the flames.